What We Discover
Ch. 1: The Heart of Dreaming
"Look at the little loser!" The academy students gossip horribly. They were always gossiping. Temari had never known males were such the scandalous little boys. "Pathetic! It's a good thing he's decided to quit. He can't do a thing right! Maybe he'll become a cobbler." They snicker. Temari's fingers ball up into a fist. She hates those boys. Hates them with a passion. She shouldn't be listening to their conversation anyway, she reminds herself. She shouldn't lose her temper now. "He can fashion our shoes while we go on missions. Even his worthless sister is better than he is. She just a freakish girl, but at least the twit has some skill. That idiot is hopeless. Good thing he gave up! He never would've graduated."
"Shut up!" she screams at them, her self control slipping. "My brother is no quitter!"
"News for you, loser. The moron quit this morning. He told our sensei." The boys snicker. "Of course sensei told him to think it over, but even sensei thinks it's for the best. He told the fat boy so!"
She doesn't know what she's thinking really. She just knows that she's shaking and she probably shouldn't act on impulse, but she can't help it. She swings her arm at him. Temari thinks she hears a crack as her fist slams into his face; she desperately hopes his nose is broken.
"YOU BITCH!" the boy screams at her.
She hits him again. "Don't call me bitch."
His two friends pull out kunais. They're going to attack her for what she did. She's not even armed; she can't really defend herself against two boys prepped with kunais. Maybe if they weren't good shinobi-in-training, but they're excellent.
She feels a hand pull her back and now Kankurou is in front of her. "Leave her alone."
The boy she hit is grabbing his nose. "That whore bwoke my nose!"
"Then you should've defended yourself." Kankurou grumbles. "She's just a stupid girl."
"She needs to be taught a lesson." One of the other boys says.
Temari wants to murder him. If she had her weapon she would beat those boys to the ground.
"I don't think the Kazekage would like you attacking his daughter. Whether he likes her or not." Kankurou continued in disinterest
The boys all pause. They hate her. Oh, they hate her so much, but they don't want to get in trouble with the Kazekage. They're all terrified of him.
"She might also get Gaara to attack you." Kankurou adds. "She's fucking crazy like that."
The boys' eyes then widen. They don't want to mess with Gaara. He's more frightening than anyone else in the village.
The boys depart with scowls and a few more insults. At her and Kankurou.
"You didn't need to do that." She growls at him. "I would've been fine."
Kankurou rolls his eyes at her. "You're not even armed."
"Whatever, Temari." He grumbles and starts to walk away.
Temari will never admit it to Kankurou, but she's glad he did that. Even when it seems like her brother doesn't care, he's always looking out for her. Temari doesn't think she's ever done anything for him. It makes her a little sad, but…she doesn't do anything about it.
Kankurou is too soft-hearted. It's hard for him, to live with the fact that she, Gaara, and the Kazekage are his family.
"Wait!" She calls after him. "Kankurou! Wait for me!"
"Why bother? You never wanna be around me anyway except to bother me." He kicks the dirt.
His eyes are sullen and depressed, frown evident, and hands hanging limply at his sides. She never notices him much; she's always too busy, but when she does spend time with him he's always like this. It irks her, so she pesters him a bit. Trying to incite an action in him. Anger tends to be the easiest one to create, also the one she's most familiar with; so she riles him up. Just because she likes his teeth baring and eyes hard better than the posture he wears now. It makes her feel funny to see him so…sullen. Looking at him that way. She supposes if she were a better sister she would know how to fix it, but she doesn't, so she does what she can.
"Can you believe the nerve of those boys? Saying you quit!"
Temari trips. She's too shocked to even stand. She just sits there, legs awkwardly resting underneath her, dust settling on her clothes. "You what?!"
He sighs and then sits beside her. "I quit." He's looking up at the sky, the sullen expression in his face more evident than it's ever been.
"What did you do that for!?" she scolds him. "Just tell sensei tomorrow that you were feeling sick and I'm sure he'll let—"
"No, Temari." He says firmly. "I don't want to go back. I quit."
Her eyes narrow. An anger she's never quite felt rising in her veins, in her very blood. "You're a shinobi, Kankurou." It's different from the usual anger, when she can't think anymore. It's very different.
"What is your problem?!" she says to him. "Why would you bother quitting!?"
"Temari, just drop it."
"I will NOT drop it. You are going to explain to me why you've decided to quit!"
He growls. "Because I'm sick of dealing with people like you."
It hurts her. Mostly because he's never said anything like that to her. Because she's heard these things from everyone but him. He's always been the one who jokes and laughs and makes light of everything. He never – he's never really been mean like that.
"You know how much I despise you, Temari?" He glares at her. "You and the lot of them. Horrid things. Turning your nose down at—"
"I've never turned my nose down at anybody!" she protests weakly.
"You think you're better than me."
Temari blinks and looks at her hands shamefully.
For a really long time she's hated him, because he's always had everything. He didn't have to work for things like she did.
Gaara, she, well, she was terrified of him, but she held a respect and admiration for him.
Kankurou? To her he was…a joke. He didn't work for anything he got, he was lucky and because of that she decided she was better. He was weak. He had everything handed to him and even then he didn't do anything with it. Except she didn't really believe that; she just acted that way.
Really she thought he was better than she could ever hope to be. Because not only did he have so many more chances to become a stronger shinobi, but his personality was already ten times better than hers. He was really kind, and tried to understand people before judging them, he would never never put someone down just because others did the same; he was a good person. Deep, deep down, he was moral. He was good. And she envied that.
Sometimes she imagined its how things worked. Gaara was born the devil, Kankurou the angel, and she was the impish thing that always wanted and was incapable of giving. The thing that shouldn't have been born. A mistake.
The bitterness edges out of his eyes and words just as quickly as it sprung. He's all sorrow again. "Never mind. Ignore it. I'm just…depressed."
"You're depressed too often." She snaps at him.
Kankurou sighs in irritation. "Can you just go?"
An angel shouldn't be saddened by the cruelty of the world, she reasons. An angel should do something about it. "If you quit, Kankurou, I'll kill you."
Kankurou stares at her. Dumb shock on his face. "Y-You won't kill me."
She scares him sometimes. She knows. Despite his good nature she sees it in his eyes, he thinks of her as a freaky imp too. An imp he likes, but is terrified of nonetheless. But even he doesn't believe her threat. "Probably not." She replies to him. "But I can make your life a living hell. We live in the same house after all."
"I'm no good as a shinobi, Temari."
She glares at him.
He cowers. Just a bit.
"And who says that, dummy?"
She's angry again. Doesn't he realize how good he has it? He can do anything! Nobody is sitting on a pretty little throne telling him he can't become a shinobi. He – he… Why would he do that to himself? Tell himself he can't do it. It was ridiculous. She slaps him across the shoulder. Probably a bit harder than she should when she thinks about it. He's her younger brother. But he was still an idiot. "So you're putting yourself down?" She scowls, "Jeez, Kankurou, the world is going to have plenty of opportunities to push you down and beat you up, no need to do it to yourself. You'd make a fine shinobi."
"I will not! Temari, have you seen me!? I can't throw any weapon right, my kicks and punches are weaker than some civilian, and I've got no special jutsu hidden up my sleeve." He protests strongly
"So?" she sneers. "You have a ton of chakra, you're brilliant at dodging (shoot, you have more grace that a girl!), and you're obviously aware of your shortcomings."
He scowls. "That—"
"That's a good thing, dum-dum. If you know where you are weak than you can work on how to make up for it, or you know, get stronger."
"Temari, there's no way—"
"Who says you have to be the normal kind of shinobi?" she interrupts abruptly. An idea worming into her mind.
"What are you talking about?"
She pulls her legs up and hugs them to her chest, smiling eagerly. "I've been researching you see." She can feel the giddiness rise up in her chest. She wants him to understand. She hopes he'll find it just as brilliant as she does. "Because the normal ninja way doesn't work for me either."
Kankurou looks at her speculatively.
Temari brushes it off and continued. "Shinobis have done things weird for ages. There's genjutsu specialists – not too appealing if you ask me, but cool nonetheless; and there was once this freaky guy who worked to make string his specialty." The way he did it was actually quite complicated and hard to understand, but the portrait she had painted in her face at the time was an action-filed one. She frowns, trying to figure out how to explain it. "It's a bit complex to explain but it sounded super cool. This dude made something as simple and fragile as string his main weapon and it worked! He was a pretty good shinobi the way the manuscripts tell it."
His expression isn't the one she'd imagined. He looks irritated. But then that was always it. She was the irritating older sister who never made any sense. "Temari," Kankurou sighs exasperatedly, "as 'cool' as that is I don't like genjutsu and—"
She's always had a mischievous penchant for not giving up. "There's also a running specialty that happens to be very rare among all villages. Not just Suna. Most people mock it, but it's very powerful when utilized the right way."
Kankurou leant forward, interested despite his inclinations. Good, he was interested now!
Temari grins widely. "Puppeteering."
He scowls. "You've got to be kidding me."
"No, no, hear me out. These people build puppets, or buy them from a builder, and they're not like ordinary, you know. They tend to be about five feet tall," she makes a gesture with her hand indicating the height, "and come equipped with numerous weapons and detachable limbs. The strings attached to the puppet aren't real strings but strings made of chakra. I hear perfecting that takes time, but the result is good. The puppet attacks. It can squeeze and stab and lots of other things depending on the puppet type." Her younger brother's eyes were open in avid fascination. They'd once seen a puppet play when they were younger. Temari had found it a rather irksome bore, but Kankurou had been hopelessly entranced by it. Quite possibly the idea of a weapon-equipped puppet was inspiring fantasies in his mind. "The puppeteer usually also fashions the artillery on the puppet with hand crafted poison. Of course, I suppose you could buy some if the case serves."
"That…It…" Kankurou pauses; she could see the gears turning in his head, "Actually sounds pretty cool."
"All it requires to be a good puppeteer from what I gather is precision, good chakra control, and well, dodging for when your puppet is inaccessible or the enemy surprises you from behind." She loves the look on his face. It's one she doesn't see quite so often. He's fascinated. He's happy. "You love the idea, don't you?" She grins.
The grin though slips from his lips slowly. The lingering sadness resurfaces again, "Tem, as cool as that sounds I can't—"
He's making excuses again. She slaps him. Temari makes sure this one isn't quite as forceful as the previous slap was. He still winces. She thinks he hates the fact that she's stronger than he is. He was brought up believing men should be stronger. Maybe they should be, who really knows; Kankurou though, he just…wasn't. But that did not mean he could quit!
She'd seen him stumble and fall countless times. She'd watched him throw a kunai at a target only to miss nine times out of ten. And the time it did hit, it never hit the target quite right. It was the lack of strength. Temari wasn't sure where in the world it came from, she was sure plenty strong. She'd seen him practice enough times, with weapons and in taijutsu to know that no matter how hard he trained, he would never quite measure up to the better shinboi. His talents did not lie in brute force.
He had other talents though. He just had to open his eyes and see them. He could be a puppeteer. Granted, he would have to work hard, but when it was all said and done, he would be a brilliant shinobi. Better than most. "Shut up." She scolds him, "Look, idiot, don't you dare give up. I'll help you."
"You have a hard enough time doing things for yourself as it is." Kankurou grumbles at her.
"Who cares? I won't sleep then. No big deal. What is a big deal is you thinking you can quit. Only losers quit." She fumes. "Quitting is only for the sane. If you pull through the pain and hardship, you lose your sanity, but you get to see and live all kinds of crazy things."
He scoffs. "Oh yeah? Like what?"
Temari smiles broadly, because she's always wanted somebody to ask her that question. "Your dreams." She whispers it to him; because she's afraid the words will slip from her mouth and dance away from her. She's afraid if she says it too loudly, it may never happen. For her or Kankurou.
"Who says my dream is to be a shinobi?"
Dreams are precious, Temari thinks. They're items that you create on your own, things that are inside your own mind. She's always thought giving up on them is the worst thing you could do. Because you're dreams are who you are. She thinks that giving up on her dreams would be like giving up on herself. She doesn't want that to happen to Kankurou. Temari looks down at her hands. They're bandaged. She's had them bandaged for three weeks. Carefully she unrolls the white bandages from her hands. "Look." She extends her hands to her brother. So he can see. Temari imagines her hands should hurt, but she's felt pain on them for too long to notice it anymore. Her hands are red, and raw, and cut, and scraped, and bruised. One of the cuts opens wide letting blood spill across her palms. She can tell from the way Kankurou's eyes widen and his lip curls, that he's disgusted. He's horrified. She muses he's mostly just shocked that a girl has hands this ugly. Temari's shown them to the village girls before, just out of fun. She loves to see the way they squeal and the manner in which they recoil. Such fragile little things. "I've been working with a fan." She explains. "It's bigger than me right now. Pretty tall. And heavy to boot. I think I can make it a weapon. I've read about these kinds of things a lot. And while I haven't heard of a fan being a weapon, I'm gonna make it happen." She smirks, "So when I fight a shinobi and I pull it out they're aren't gonna know what the hell I'm doing. They won't think of me as a threat. I mean, think about it, what could a fan do? But I'll pull it off. Even if when I'm done my hands look like I shoved them down a garbage disposal."
"They already look like that." Kankurou grumbles absentmindedly.
Temari grins. "Yeah, I guess they do."
Kankurou looks up at her, confusion and pity in his eyes. "A fan, Temari? Fans are just…useless." He finishes lamely.
"Duh. That's my point. People have been looking at me with the attitude you just displayed toward my fan since I was born. If I'm gonna prove them wrong, I'm gonna do it in style. I'm gonna pick up something that is perceived to have no inherent value either. My fan and I, we're the same. We may look like we aren't much, but I'm gonna make sure that anyone who jumps to that conclusion will eat their words."
"You're pretty tough." He mumbles. "You know, for a girl."
Temari rolls her eyes. "Yeah, well you're pretty tough too, for a boy."
He scowls. "I just don't think – I'm not really special…you know?"
Temari looks at him blankly. "No. I don't know." How could he say that? "I think you're incredibly special. Stupid, though, always putting yourself down. Gosh, you're ridiculous."
"Those boys will be better than I can ever be."
"How do you know unless you try?"
"How would I learn puppeteering, anyway!?"
"Books." She explains. "You know, those things with words. Pretty helpful. You use them to fix all our wobbly furniture."
"Haha." He mutters dryly. "Very funny."
She grins slowly. "I know." She pokes him in the ribs. "Come on, you can't quit. You already got that you're-an-idiot attitude and can talk trash quite well. Mind you, skills like those would be a terrible thing to waste."
He pushes her.
"I guess I kind of do like the idea of being a puppeteer." He smirks. "They won't really see it coming then. And I'll know I'll have done something that requires more concentration that just hitting something with my fist."
"That's the spirit!"
He's a weird little brother, but he means more to her than he'll ever know. A really big reason she would hate it if he quit, is that she couldn't do it alone. As lame and stupid as it sounds, she needs him. Maybe one day she'll tell him how much he means to her.
Maybe one day she'll explain how he's the only one she really considers family.
Maybe one day she'll tell him the reason she never quits, is because he's always there for her. She wouldn't have the will to continue if no one cared for her at all.
Maybe one day, she'll say those evil little words.
Maybe one day, she'll say what she fears so much.
Love is pain.
Shinobi never show emotion.
Shinobi don't have family.
I love you, Kankurou.
A/N: This one's going to be a collection of one-shots concerning the sand sibling and their lives. Right now, I'm thinking about nine chapters, but if you have any suggestions/requests for a oneshot idea I'd be glad to hear them. Hope you like it!
Oh, I've also recently discovered that my birthday is on the EXACT same date of Tenten's birthday -- March 9. Very scary. So I've decided to see if I like Tenten or not (I have no opinion on her whatsoever) Do you guys know of any good Tenten fics or AMV's?